- Burial once compared the sound he loves—a spark of euphoria in a track that's "moody as fuck," and the emptiness that follows—to stepping from shelter into the rain. The ambient Subtemple, the Hyperdub artist's latest EP, seems exposed to the elements. "Subtemple"'s procession of field recordings—footsteps, clock ticks, respiration, rushing water—though coated in a familiar crackle, feels naked and disordered without rhythm, even though some sounds gesture to it. There are occasional claps and a tentative toy melody. Later, we get dialogue—"all that's left is the procedure"—and the bleep of a stopwatch. Many details emerge, but few say much. We're marking time, stumbling in the dark.
"Beachfires" reminds us of Burial's emotional potency in a way that "Subtemple"'s sample collage does not. Choral vocals glide in various pitches, from angelic registers to wails that resemble Gregorian chants. Chimes act like chapter breaks, signalling gentle changes in tone or mood, while wind and thunder break the silences. "Beachfires" conveys sacred spaces—places of worship and natural landscapes—with a clarity that illuminates Burial's inner world. On "Subtemple," he sounds lost in a void.